Twisted: Unserious food tastes seriously good.

Sod manners, eating with your mouth open and licking fingers officially improves the taste of food

25/07/2022

Twisted: Unserious food tastes seriously good.

Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman

05m read

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It might be time to forget all about table manners, because a new study has shown that food actually tastes better when you eat with your mouth open.

A team of researchers from Oxford University have been researching the best way to eat food to get maximum taste out of our meals, and they’ve found that chewing food with your mouth open may actually help.

This is because open mouthed eating helps “volatile organic compounds” reach the back of your nose. These are basically the molecules that help create the smell and flavour of our food.

eating mouth open

Tuck in with your mouth open for better taste, say experts (Credit: Alamy)

Speaking to The Times, Charles Spence, who teaches experimental psychology at the university, said that we have essentially “been [eating] all wrong”.

“Parents instil manners in their children, extolling the virtues of politely chewing with our mouths closed,” he added.

“However, chewing open mouthed may actually help to release more of the volatile organic compounds, contributing to our sense of smell and the overall perception.”

These compounds are only half the reason we enjoy food more. The scientist adds: “When it comes to sound, we like noisy foods – think crunchy and crispy. Both crisps and apples are rated as more pleasurable when the sound of the crunch is amplified.

messy eating table manners

The scientist says we’ve got table manners ‘all wrong’ (Credit: Alamy)

“To best hear the crunch of an apple, a potato crisp, a carrot stick, a cracker, crispbread or a handful of popcorn, we should always ditch our manners and chew with our mouths open.”

If you’re willing to throw those traditional table manners to the curb, Spence also advises getting rid of cutlery and using your hands to eat, too.

“Our sense of touch is also vital in our perception of food on the palate,” he says in the study. “The research shows that what you feel in the hand can change or bring out certain aspects of the tasting experience.”

“While licking fingers after eating with our hands is never encouraged in polite circles, research would suggest we ought to consider scrapping the etiquette for utmost sensory enjoyment,” he goes on.

finger licking

Finger licking is also encouraged (Credit: Alamy)

“Or consider only how pleasant it can be to lick the bowl with your finger when making a cake mix at home.”

So, there you have it. Sod being polite, lick your fingers, scoff open mouthed and tuck into your food without any shame…

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